New hire checklist: A step-by-step guide to onboarding employees in Spain


Jun 16, 2023

Congratulations on making a new hire in Spain! Expanding your company’s operations beyond your home country is an exciting way to tap into new talent and widen your reach. Now it’s time to plan out your new employee’s onboarding process.

While the onboarding process doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all format, having certain steps in place will help welcome your employee and keep you compliant with any Spanish labor laws. Remember: Onboarding lasts longer than the employee’s first day—it can be a complicated task, ongoing for months. Getting it right can be the difference between an exciting start and a disengaged employee long-term. 

This checklist will help you optimize your onboarding process. It covers paperwork, compliance, devices, access to apps, training, and a 90-day plan to ensure your new employees are successful from their first day onward.

Before their first day

  • Complete an employment background check. While employers can request information that is directly relevant to the position, such as employment and education history, employers can’t perform criminal record checks unless they’re hiring for specific industries in which that information impacts employment eligibility, such as public administration, finance, and insurance. Read more about employee background checks in Spain.
  • Send an offer letter. Written job offer letters aren’t legally required for employment in Spain. However, this is still a recommended part of the hiring process to outline the duties and expectations of the role. An offer letter should include the position, job title and job description, start date, working hours, trial period terms (more on that below), compensation, benefits, termination policy, time off, and other key details. Check out our full guide to writing offer letters for employees in Spain.
  • Complete the necessary paperwork. New hire paperwork may include legal agreements, non-disclosure agreements, or tax forms. Depending on the onboarding software you use, setting up the necessary documents and getting them signed will likely involve emailing back-and-forth between stakeholders across different teams.
  • Enroll your employee in benefits. You must offer benefits packages that are compliant with Spanish labor laws under the European Union, the Spanish Constitution, the Workers’ Statute, and collective bargaining agreements. Statutory benefits include pension and social security, vacation entitlements, paid holidays, and leave (including parental leave and sick leave). Workers’ compensation may be required depending on the industry. Learn more with our guide to employee benefits in Spain.
  • Add them to payroll. Pay your Spanish employees in euros (EUR) unless they have agreed in writing to accept another currency. You can use an employer of record (EOR) like Rippling to run payroll unless you already have an entity established in the country. Read our guide about running global payroll in Spain for more details.
  • Order and prepare their devices. Whether your new Spanish hire will work remotely or on site, they need to be set up with the right tools and technology. Before your new hire’s first day, order and configure any devices they need, such as laptops or monitors, so they’re good to go from day one. As a bonus, this gives you extra time for any technical troubleshooting.
  • Set up their app accounts. Email, Slack, Zoom…learning about all the apps you’ll need for a new job can be stressful. Make things easy by getting the employees access to any apps before their first day. Setting up their app accounts ahead of time means that they can log in on their start date and get rolling.
  • Prepare additional resources. These might include:
    • A copy of your organization’s onboarding checklist
    • An employee handbook, plus copies of any other must-know company policies (You’ll want to check that all of these policies are compliant with collective bargaining agreement regulations.)
    • Your company's mission statement and information about your company’s culture and values
    • A team directory
    • Contact information for their employee representative, if applicable (Employees and trade unions have the right to elect and appoint representatives at a company or trade-union level.)
    • An overview of their first day
    • Their job description and top priorities, plus any other necessary, role-specific resources
  • Schedule their orientation. The first day—or even first week—should be spent welcoming the new hire onto the team. Schedule your new employee’s orientation events, which might include 1:1s with their manager, meetings with their team, or introductory events for their first day. Send out invites before the start date, so everyone who needs to attend can put a hold on their calendar.
  • Designate an onboarding buddy or mentor. Your new hire may find it helpful to have a designated point person who can guide them through the process, answer their questions, and make introductions. Assign that person before their first day so they can set aside time to welcome the new employee.
  • Send a welcome email. Create a welcome email for your new employee with all the details about what to expect on their first day and beyond. This can be waiting for them in their inbox on their first day. Consider including an agenda, a company directory, FAQs, and whatever else they may need to feel comfortable and excited about starting their new job. (As a bonus, once you’ve drafted this email, you can save it as a template and customize it for future new hires.)

On Day 1

  • Make sure their workspace is set up. If your Spanish employee will be coming into the office, prep their desk or workspace for their arrival. Arrange their new devices and consider adding a fun decoration or two as a surprise. A welcoming, fun work environment can help your new hire feel appreciated and excited.
  • Send a "welcome to the team" email. Early on during the new employee’s first day, send out a message to the company introducing them. You can include the new employee’s professional bio or even sprinkle in some fun facts about them. Encourage the team to extend a greeting, too. Craft the perfect "welcome to the team" email with our guide.
  • Send them an agenda to help them get started. You may have included this in the welcome email. If not, make sure you have this ready for the new hire on their first day. Spanish workplace culture is all about balance, so don’t overcrowd their agenda. Plan for some flexibility in the schedule, as well as a longer lunch break, which is considered the norm.
  • Schedule a 1:1 with their manager. Personal relationships tend to be important in Spain, which is why it’s helpful to introduce your new hire to their manager or supervisor in a 1:1 meeting. The manager can welcome them and answer any questions they may have. Face-to-face meetings are ideal, but meetings can happen over video chat as needed, especially for remote workers.
  • Schedule a 1:1 with their onboarding buddy or mentor. Having an onboarding contact or a workplace mentor can help put your new hire at ease. Schedule a 1:1 between the buddy and your new hire to help build that rapport. If possible, avoid scheduling it between 2 and 5 p.m., in case lunch runs over, which is common in Spain.
  • Have a get-to-know-you event with their team. Schedule an introductory event with your new hire’s team to welcome them. If your employee is working in person, a team lunch can be a wonderful choice, since longer lunches are common in Spain anyway!
  • Give an office tour. If your new Spanish hire will be working on site, give them an office tour on their first day. Don't forget to point out where the bathrooms, break areas, and fire extinguishers are.
  • Provide them with a list of important contacts. Your new employee will not only need to get acquainted with their team; they’ll also need to know who to reach out to for help. Give them a “cheat sheet” of co-workers and be sure to note each person’s department, role, and contact information, so the new hire can find the right person to answer specific questions. Remember to add a contact for human resources.

During their first 90 days

  • Schedule organizational and role-specific training. In the first few months, your new hire’s goal is to learn about the company and their role. Begin with organizational training to teach your employee about the company, its goals, and its values. Next, pivot to role-specific training to help them learn the specific skills and information they need to succeed. There may be specific training requirements from collective bargaining agreements. If so, integrate those into your material.
  • Allow time for cultural adjustment. There are unique nuances to Spanish workplace culture. For example, it’s common for meetings to be informal and include personal asides, lively dialogue, and an exchange of ideas. If your company has a specific workplace culture or if the new hire’s team is largely based in North America, expect that there may be an adjustment period. Be clear about expectations while remaining open to how new working styles can converge.
  • Assign work and help them set goals. Naturally, there’s going to be a learning curve while your new hire is ramping up. Be mindful not to overload them with too much work in the first few months. One way to do this is by setting goals using a framework like SMART goals—setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. This will help give your new hire clear targets to work toward so they know exactly what to do in their first weeks and months.
  • Schedule regular check-ins and mentorship to help them stay on track. Tracking progress and reviewing goals together is key to successfully transitioning into a new role. Start with a check-in at 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days, but stay flexible in case they want to schedule more frequent meetings.
  • Offer regular feedback as they get settled in. Your new hire shouldn’t wonder about their performance in the first 90 days—they should have a clear idea of how they’re doing. Give them regular feedback so they know if they’re on track or if they need to redirect their work to meet their goals.
  • Keep the probation period in mind. In Spain, trial periods vary depending on the employee’s seniority level. A less qualified worker may be subject to a two-month probation period, while more technical employees can expect up to six months. During trial periods, employers can end the employment contract without notice—hopefully, if you’re consistent and encouraging with feedback, it won’t come to that. Once your employee has passed the probation period, be sure to let them know.
  • Seek their feedback on the onboarding experience. Feedback goes both ways. Encourage all new hires to share their perspective on the onboarding experience to improve the process for future hires.

Onboarding new employees in Spain is easy—and fast—with Rippling

If you're going to hire employees, contractors, or remote workers in Spain, you need more than just a new hire checklist: you need Rippling. 

Rippling makes it easy to onboard and manage employees and contractors around the world—in one system that helps keep you compliant with local employment laws and regulations.

And with Rippling, onboarding new employees is a breeze. Complete and verify background checks, write and send offer letters, send, sign, and store digital documents, and localize onboarding materials to your new hire's home country—all from one centralized location.

Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, accounting, or legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.

last edited: July 19, 2023

The Author

The Rippling Team

Global HR, IT, and Finance know-how directly from the Rippling team.